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Most Common Hazards Associated with Overhead Hoists (AWP and MEWP)

The three most common hazards associated with AWP and MEWP cranes involve electrical hazards, overloading, and falling or slipping materials from overhead hoists.

Want to find out more about each of these, read on to the end.

What are the most common hazards associated with overhead cranes?

Electrical hazards

According to information shared by OSHA, at least 50% of overhead crane accidents are caused by machinery that came into contact with a power source while being operated.

This is defined as the inadvertent contact of any metal part of the crane with a power line that is high voltage. It often occurs when the crane is moving materials near, or under, energized power lines.

Usually, the person touching the crane is electrocuted by the power line. However, this is a hazard that is not only limited to the operator, but to all surrounding personnel.

The result of these events can be the death of several people, or several implosions. It is estimated that, each year, 200 deaths are generated in this way, and at least 600 suffer serious injuries.


OSHA has also revealed that 80% of structural failures with cranes can be attributed to excess crane operating capacity. Once overloaded, they are subjected to structural stresses capable of producing irreversible damage.

Among the hazards of operating overhead cranes is the swinging, or sudden dropping, of the load. It is estimated that one such mishap occurs for every 10,000 hours of crane use.

And about 80% of all such incidents can be attributed to human error, which can be predicted once the operator inadvertently exceeds the lifting capacity of the crane.

That is why the best recommendation that can be made is to provide training for all crane operators.

Fall of materials

Another major concern is falling materials. Whether due to visual impairment, double blockage, slippage, mechanical failure, or operator incompetence, serious injury, if not death, can result.

If not properly secured, the load can slip and end up falling on workers. When not, it can cause damage to the property being worked on.

The risk of falling materials can be reduced when hoists are regularly maintained.

Avoid them the next time you operate!

In case you were wondering, OSHA is charged with reducing the risk of workplace fatalities and injuries by ensuring that rules, regulations, and awareness of safety hazards are increased and workers are educated to be able to avoid them.

Now that you know the risks of operating AWP and MEWP cranes, we hope you will be more forewarned.

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